If you’ve been house hunting for the South Lake Tahoe home you know is out there—the one that will fit your needs, is situated in a suitable neighborhood, and fits your budget—when you hone in on a likely candidate, try not to fall in love with it (at least not right away). House hunting is a nesting exercise: part logic, part emotion. Nothing will change that. But problems can result when emotions take over early on in the process. It’s human nature to rush past what seem to be pesky little details as you near the finish line. If, later, “pesky” turns into “horrendous,” it can usually be traced to a rush to judgement born of emotion. The most productive attitude is one of patience—energized by optimism but tempered with cool judgement. When you have faith that you will find what you’ve been house hunting for, persistence comes easily.
One basic house hunting tip has to do with your original checklist. You certainly start out with a list of what your minimum requirements must be, but if you don’t keep that basic list close at hand, you are apt to fall in love with a place that’s missing one or two vital elements. If your South Lake Tahoe dream house lacks something you set out thinking of as a necessity, you’ll be much more satisfied in the end if you at least consciously decide early on that the other wonderful features make the sacrifice worth the tradeoff.
The second tip category deals with maintenance…and upgrades…and décor changes…and the like. It’s about the realistic cost you are going to pay for necessary changes to will bring the property into line with your tastes and requirements. Being realistic about the amount of effort and budget that will be required is hard to do when you are already head-over-heels with the place—but it needs to be done realistically. The bottom line for your new South Lake Tahoe home will include changes you know you’ll be making, so estimating those costs is integral to developing a levelheaded negotiating position.
The third house hunting tip is really the most hard-headed financial factor. If the home you’re falling in love with satisfies this one, go ahead and fall—this isn’t puppy love: it looks like the real thing! This tip is sort of a romance killer (it’s like a prenup). After you’re pretty sure the property is what you’ve been looking for, stop and seriously consider what it’s resale value will be in a few years. Of course you’re not going to sell your dream house anytime soon—but one day you may want to do so. Will the property’s construction stand up to Father Time? Does the neighborhood look like it, too, will retain its charm (or even better, improve with the years)? And are the fine points of the house the kind that have wide appeal—and not just peculiar to the sellers (and you)?
House hunting can be fun; it can be stressful; it can be (and usually is) both. But it is a terrifically valuable use of your time. The goal is to emerge from the process with the South Lake Tahoe home that will be a pleasure to come home to for many years to come. All the better when it produces an investment that creates value as those years pass. It’s my job to assist my clients in making the most of every house hunting hour. I hope you’ll call me so we can get started!